Use This Summer to Get Your Student Prepared for the GRE

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By: Elana Goodwin, Uloop

If your student is planning to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) soon, summer is the perfect time for them to start preparing and studying for it. With no college or homework to worry about during their break, they will have ample time to devote to getting ready for the GRE — and there are ways you can help them prep, too.

Here is how you can help your student prepare for the GRE over the summer.

1. Ask if they need help

Though your student may feel they can and want to handle studying for the GRE on their own, there is no shame in getting help with GRE prep. Offer them assistance so their studying sessions will actually be productive and do it early on in their studying.

Your student may also have trouble staying focused and on track and maintaining a regular study schedule. You can help by knowing when they have set aside time to study and gently reminding them of their commitment to GRE prep at that time.

Help can also be aiding them in finding a study partner or encouraging them to find one on their own or paying for a tutor or test prep course to assist your student in GRE preparation. If you yourself or someone you know is particularly skilled at a subject that will appear on the GRE, ask if your student would like to take advantage of their expertise while studying.

2. Be supportive

Being supportive is another great way you can help your student prep for the GRE. That means if they want to complain about how hard studying is or tell you how they are worried about the test, you are there for them and can listen. Of course, to really be supportive it helps to know exactly what the GRE entails.

The GRE is comprised of three parts: quantitative, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing sections. The quantitative section consists of math problems, covering basic algebra and geometry, arithmetic and data interpretation, and problem-solving.

The verbal reasoning part will test your student’s reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence structuring skills. The analytical writing section will test your student’s ability to write two well-written and effective essays: one an “argument” essay and the other an “issue” essay, both of which need to use logical reasoning, relevant samples, and evidence supporting their claims to receive good scores.

Each section is scored separately and has a specific amount of time allotted to it, which can increase the pressure your student may be feeling as they start studying for the GRE.

3. Minimize distractions

When you know your student is studying, try to minimize any noise or distractions that may disrupt them to facilitate productive learning. That means keeping any siblings or pets out of their room or away from where your student is studying, not vacuuming or having a TV on loudly, etc.

Additionally, encourage them to set up a study space that is comfortable, free of distractions, and which will be a good environment that will allow them to focus on their GRE prep. Advise them to put away or stay off electronics unless they are taking a practice test and to use a calculator rather than their phone when studying for the math section so they are not sidetracked by texts, social media, etc.

4. Motivate their studying

Staying motivated can be hard when it comes to studying so help them out by motivating their test prep. Whether it’s supplying a yummy snack after an hour of GRE studying, a promise of a movie night, or just reminding them of what grad school they want to go to and how getting a good score on the GRE is imperative to their being accepted there, keep your student motivated.

5. Reward their dedication

It’s a pretty universal concept that receiving validation for hard work feels good — so reward your student’s dedication to their GRE studying this summer with something that shows you understand how hard they have worked and that you are proud of them.

This could mean taking them out for a drink, cooking their favorite meal, buying them something they have had their eyes on, etc. It does not have to be a big thing, just something that recognizes their accomplishment. You can also wait to reward their dedication until they have taken the GRE and gotten their scores back and then do something to celebrate their grades on each section.

Scores on the GRE are important to your student’s future grad school options — so actually being productive and successfully studying is key. Help your student prepare for the GRE this summer by keeping in mind these five tips and your student will be on their way to test-readiness and great scores!

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